Task 3 Practice - Art

The role of art in developing empathy for people and groups who live lives that are different to your own.

Dear Members of the Board, this is my proposal supporting the role of art in developing empathy for people and groups who live lives that may be different. I will be talking about the significance of self expression and raising awareness through art in order to develop empathy.

It may be argued that art can lead to the exposure of excessive violence to younger audiences. On streaming services such as Netflix and Prime Video, everybody has access to many different genres of art. If not monitored properly, young children can view entertainments that are not suitable for their age group. For example, many people watched the highly popular television series "Squid Game", including children as young as 9 years old. A show with as much tragedy and violence as Squid Game can have long lasting effects on the mental health of children which would in turn not develop empathy.

However, it is also important for children to have full exposure of the good and bad of life while they are still within the safety of their guardians. If children are not exposed to shows such as Squid Game, when they do go out into the real world, they will have no experience with reality and will likely struggle. Many forms of art aid in raising awareness of important topics. For example, the 2017 movie, "Five Feet Apart", spreads awareness on the disease cystic fibrosis which can help people empathise with people suffering with it. Art, especially through mainstream media, is the most effective way to spread awareness in the 21st century.

Secondly, art in all its forms requires self expression. According to Dr. Kimberly Harrington Delgado, self expression is the gateway to developing autonomy and a healthy sense of self. As a result, when everyone is able to express themselves and are mentally healthier, communities can be brought together and people are able to relate to one another more. This relatability can help with the development of empathy since it is easier to empathise with people and groups that you can relate to.

Therefore, I believe that art is incredibly important in our everyday lives not only to raise awareness but to encourage self expression. All of this will in turn help develop empathy and create a more nurturing and accepting world.

Creative Writing Carnival

All was silent. The occasional ruffle of a tarp being disrupted by the wind rang in my ears. The wind, in its own cursed manner, resembled the charming whistles that used to play at the fairground. The previously illuminated fair had now been veiled, a sort of cruel reminiscence. Unfortunate. A spotlight of darkness sat solely on the carousel. A chaotic crown of sorts, all broken and dismembered but still eerily beautiful. The once luminous, regal blues, maroons, and ochre yellows of the carousel were now almost entirely washed-out, showing no opportunity for innocent child's play. Twisted vines and branches had crept from underneath the ground, spilling through the concrete, and encasing the base of the carousel, holding it down close to the ground. Mirrors were shattered. Baseboards were crooked. Tarps were crumpled. Nothing was as it was.

Strength - Variation of sentence structures (some complex, some short)
Weakness - Didn't add much detail from the picture, could've incorporated the 5 senses more

How does Fitzgerald use details of setting and imagery to establish a mood in chapter 5?

In chapter 5, Fitzgerald uses details of setting and imagery in order to establish an awed and amazed mood. This displays Nick's amazed perspective which is completely contradictory to the mood created in chapter 2 in the valley of ashes. For example, Fitzgerald describes Gatsby's mansion with words such as "enchanted murmurs", "sparking odour", "vivid", and "astounding presence". These words connote amazement and wonder which in turn makes the reader feel as in awe as Nick. Similarly, when describing Gatsby's shirts, Fitzgerald writes "while we admired he brought more and the soft rich heap mounted higher". Through adjectives that display amazement such as "rich", Fitzgerald descriptively creates an image depicting the sense of awe that Nick is experiencing. Throughout the passage, Fitzgerald also focuses on the various colours found in the mansion. For example, "rose and lavender silk", "pure dull gold", and "plaids in coral and apple-green and lavender and faint orange, with monograms of indian blue". These colours symbolise luxury, success, wealth, and high status. Therefore, they emphasise the theme of astonishment. Collectively, all of these details from the setting create an amazed mood which corresponds with Nick's admiration. This mood contrasts with the incredibly gloomy mood created in chapter 2.

How does Fitzgerald use details of setting and imagery to establish a mood in the opening pages of chapter 2?

Fitzgerald uses emphasised details of settings and imagery in order to establish a gloomy and uncomfortable mood, creating a tension implying a negative turn of events later on in the story. For example, the people in the valley of ashes are described as "already crumbling through the powdery air". This upsetting image creates a sense of discomfort, indicating how everything eventually fades away. The same gloomy idea is implicated when T.J Eckleburg's poster is described as "his eyes, dimmed a little by many paintless days". This shows the reader how day-by-day, things get progressively gloomier, indicating that something unfortunate will happen further into the story. Fitzgerald also uses words that connote depressing and eerie ideas. The valley of ashes is described using words such as "ghastly creak", "ash-gray men", "dismal scene", and "rising smoke". All of these details from the settings create a gloomy and uncomfortable mood which foreshadows the horrible turn of events that take place in the valley of ashes in chapter 7.

Similarly, through details of settings and imagery, an intensified version of this uncomfortable and gloomy mood is reintroduced in chapter 7, when Myrtle Wilson is hit by Gatsby's car. For example, Myrtle's lifeless body is described as "the mouth was wide open and ripped at the corners, as though she had choked a little". The use of this gruesome phrase paints a gory picture which creates an extreme sense of discomfort. Correspondingly, a similar gloomy and uncomfortable image is created when Myrtle's corpse is described as "her life violently extinguished, knelt in the road and mingled her thick dark blood with the dust". Fitzgerald uses words that connote terrible ideas which once again further establishes the gloomy and uncomfortable mood.

Peter Singer Response

In Peter Singer’s essay, he argues that voluntary euthanasia is ethical and rational since the subject has nothing of possible value in their life anymore because most of the time, they are losing themselves. In addition, he states that these people are not only thinking of themselves since they consider family, caretakers, and even the country in this decision. Therefore, Singer believes that if a patient does not have the will to live in their painful or vegetative state, they should have the option to end their life. I found it very effective when Singer used his own personal experience to argue this case. He mentioned his aunt and mother: “both vibrant, intelligent women, who were reduced to lying, unresponsive, in a bed”. This confirms the helplessness of patients in this stage and gave me a better understanding of their will to end their lives. It was also constructive to compare the reader’s life with the patient’s. Singer mentioned that for us, “life is precious” because we have things to look forward to while the patients have nothing of reasonable value. This again puts things into perspective.

The debate around euthanasia has evolved from Singer’s original argument written in 2014. For one, many more countries have legalised voluntary euthanasia on the grounds that the patient’s death is “reasonably foreseeable”. In 2014, only two countries (the Netherlands and Belgium) passed laws legalising euthanasia. In 2021, 7 countries, although under strict conditions, have legalised this. Belgium surprisingly has no age restriction and as long as an individual has a terminal illness, they can be approved. In 2021, in Project Syndicate, Singer wrote that people argue how reliable a physician or psychiatrist consultation for voluntary euthanasia actually is to which he said “​​in the end, only the patient can judge how unbearable the suffering is”. Margaret Somerville, an Australian professor and author contradicts a point made by Singer (the Dutch vote overwhelmingly for euthanasia) by saying “democratic decision-making has no moral status per se” and that just because the public votes for something, it does not mean it is morally right. She uses the Apartheid as an example: “most people deliberately choose evil”. Hospice New Zealand also does not agree with euthanasia. Instead, they suggest that the government should provide sufficient funding for proper palliative care (“relieving pain without dealing with the cause of the situation”). This should be the priority because they believe it will provide a better quality of life and after that there could be a balanced discussion about the legalisation of euthanasia.

In conclusion, I think that euthanasia should be legal for people who are in extreme pain or in a vegetative state since all of the reasons for life are stripped away which leaves no point of living and disrupting others. However, I do believe that before this is legalised, all countries should have proper access to palliative care so that people have the option of relieving pain and achieving a natural death or committing physician assisted suicide.

Works Cited
“Assisted Dying – Our Opinion – Hospice New Zealand.” Hospice.org.nz, 2021, www.hospice.org.nz/euthanasia-our-opinion/. Accessed 15 Feb. 2022.

Guardian staff reporter. “Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide Laws around the World.” The Guardian, The Guardian, 17 July 2014, www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jul/17/euthanasia-assisted-suicide-laws-world. Accessed 15 Feb. 2022.

"Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide Laws around the World.” The Guardian, The Guardian, 17 July 2014, www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jul/17/euthanasia-assisted-suicide-laws-world. Accessed 15 Feb. 2022.

Singer, Peter. “Choosing Death | by Peter Singer - Project Syndicate.” Project Syndicate, 9 Sept. 2014, www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/peter-singer-makes-the-case-for-allowing-patients-to-decide-when-to-end-their-lives?barrier=accesspaylog. Accessed 15 Feb. 2022.

"Extending the Right to Die | by Peter Singer - Project Syndicate.” Project Syndicate, 6 Apr. 2021, www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/extending-the-right-to-assisted-suicide-voluntary-euthanasia-by-peter-singer-2021-04. Accessed 15 Feb. 2022.

Somerville, Margaret. “Deathbed Disputation: A Response to Peter Singer.” CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association Journal = Journal de l’Association Medicale Canadienne, vol. 167, no. 6, 2002, pp. 651–4, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC122029/. Accessed 15 Feb. 2022.

The Week Staff. “The Countries Where Euthanasia Is Legal.” The Week UK, The Week, 28 Aug. 2019, www.theweek.co.uk/102978/countries-where-euthanasia-is-legal. Accessed 15 Feb. 2022.

Debates Reflection

During the debates, I found the point that Rushil made about there being a line when speaking about dress code very interesting. It was effective when he said that school's should transition to being able to dress according to the workplace and a dress code can help do that. I learned that it was very effective when someone asked a rhetorical question because it did make me think about their point much more than I would've with a regular sentence. It was difficult for me to find a way to formulate my rebuttals in correct sentences and I found that preparing beforehand was much easier for me. I think that Arav did really well while speaking since he engaged the audience by the way he was speaking. I payed the most attention to his points because of this. I do think that I formulated my starting argument in an easy-to-understand way, each of the arguments one after another so that people can take in more information easier.

Screenplay Response to Image

Group members: Amber, Julie and Dhanvi

Fade in

Ext- Deserted post-apocalyptic land - daytime
A support dog (Benjamin) and a young woman (Carrie) carrying a briefcase stand in the centre of an isolated, dried out terrain, the only signs of life, other than the two of them, are minuscule bushes of dehydrated grass. There is a car on the far right end of the long shot which other than a few minute scratches and dust particles, looks practically brand new.

Carrie
Strange, isn’t it? It feels like just seconds ago, I was driving around to go to my daily coffee and now it’s just me and you buddy. You and me against this empty, isolated world.
(Carrie recites this in a mind-blank, flat manner due to her post traumatic stress.)
Benjamin
I see how this might provoke your negative thoughts but it’s essential to look for the silver lining in these circumstances. Now we have the whole world to wander together.

Carrie proceeds to nod and while doing so, she drops her briefcase causing it to open. A pill full pill bottle flies out and rolls along the cracked, dry-soil ground. Carrie quickly picks it up, glares at Benjamin, and stuffs it back into her bag.

Carrie
I guess it would be exciting to see the world. We’ve always wanted to travel to Chile and this is the perfect opportunity to take Lola out on a road-trip.
(Carrie points to her well-kept car.)

Benjamin
Good progress, optimism is key! Your feelings are starting to woof!

Carrie
Sorry, Benji. What did you say?

Benjamin
Oh! My sincere apologies, I meant ‘enhance’.

Scene cuts

Int - Car - daytime
Benjamin and Carrie sit on the two front seats of the car. To the viewer’s surprise, Benjamin is the one driving, his two paws glued to the steering wheel.

Carrie
Benji, how long do you reckon this ride will take? You know that I can’t handle long rides in such a confined space. Claustrophobia, am I right!

Benjamin
Humour isn’t a good coping mechanism, I woof woof woof.

Carrie
I hate it when you don’t articulate, be clear!
(Carrie starts to turn red.)

Benjamin
Sorry, woof woof woof woof.

Carrie
What are you doing? Why are you talking like that? Why is this ride taking so awfully long?
(Carrie now starts to pace and aggressively fiddle with her fingers.)

Benjamin
WOOF.

The camera pans to Benjamin and slowly zooms onto his blurred dog tag. It then focuses on its content which reads ‘Carrie’s schizophrenia guide dog’.

Scene cuts

Script to Direct Speech

Amber stood dead centre on a smooth cement path surrounded by a nearly uniform alignment of shrubs and patches of grassy undergrowth with an expression which seemed to reflect utter awe. This idea was contradicted just in a matter of seconds.
"Don’t get me wrong, this is a breathtaking area but don’t you think it’s time to head back? I never thought I’d say this but the air is too fresh and I’d just like to be alone with my coffee right now," Amber mutters. She then proceeds to toss her keys around her fingers in an impatient manner.
"Pardon my French but that is absolutely absurd. Your grandma is taking time out of her day to take you on this walk and you just want to go home?" Estelle, Amber's grandmother, exclaims. She is clearly upset.
"No, grandma, it’s not you, I’m just not used to the supposed green glow of the countryside, you know."
"No Amber, I do not know dear," Estelle says affectionately yet unapologetically.
"It’s just that we see this area in two completely different ways," Amber says while containing her urge to aggressively roll her eyes.
'I can not for the life of me figure out what you mean, sweetheart," Estelle states.
Amber sights and collects herself. "Okay, let's look at it like this. Describe this patch of grass for me will you?"
Estelle lets out a broad grin and makes little clapping motions with her pruning hands. "Oooo this is my cup of tea. Would you prefer detail or a vague description?"
"Just describe the grass in any way you'd like, Oma," Amber says, now unable to stop herself from rolling her eyes.
"Well, this entire patch is perfectly verdant, each strand of grass a luscious, raw green," Estelle pronounces with elegance, pausing for a breath of fresh air. "The tips are softly swaying along with the brisk breeze."
"That's a lovely description but all I see is a bunch of grass standing next to each other and frankly, it's a little too muddy for my taste," Amber remarks.
Estelle nods in a reproving manner and mentions how Amber should appreciate the magical, natural beauty around her. This note of disappointment is followed by Amber mentioning that she is not an outdoorsy kind of person followed by her going on about how she doesn't even know what verdant means.
Estelle smiles. "Oh, it's simple really, verdant defines as rich wi--"
"No, while you would adore sitting and reading in one of these organic, ancient castles, I would very much rather be sitting in a Starbucks drinking my coffee," Amber harshly interrupts.
"Amber, I understand, I just thought--"
"I’m going back to the city, it was nice seeing you. I hope to see you next Easter as well," Amber interrupts for the final time.

Imagening a Diaglouge Between Two Characters - Green Hills

EXT. Two women (one twenty years old and the other seventy-two) walking on a long pathway surrounded by grassy fields. The sun is out and the air is so cool and crisp, you can kind of see it. Estelle has a slight German accent and pronounces her ‘th’s more like ‘z’s.

Amber: Don’t get me wrong, this is a breathtaking area but don’t you think it’s time to head back? I never thought I’d say this but the air is too fresh and I’d just like to be alone with my coffee right now.
Estelle: Pardon my French but zat is absolutely absurd. Your grandma is taking time out of her day to take you on zis walk and you just want to go home?
Amber: No, grandma, it’s not you, I’m just not used to the supposed green glow of the countryside, you know.
Estelle: No Amber, I do not know dear.
Amber: It’s just that we see this area in two completely different ways.
Estelle: I can not for ze life of me figure out what you mean, sweetheart.
Amber: Okay, let’s look at it like this. Describe this patch of grass for me will you.
Estelle: Oooo, zis is my cup of tea. Would you prefer detail or just like a vague description?
Amber: Just describe the grass in any way you’d like, Oma.
Estelle: Well, zis entire patch is perfectly verdant, each strand of grass a luscious, raw green. The tips are softly swaying along with the brisk breeze.

Amber: That’s a lovely description but all I see is a bunch of grass standing next to each other and frankly, it’s a little too muddy for my taste.
Estelle: Amber, you have to appreciate ze natural beauty cocooning you, it’s magical!
Amber: Oma, I’m just not an outdoorsy, reading-between-the-lines, kind of person. I don’t even know what verdant means!
Estelle: Oh, it’s simple really, verdant defines as rich wi---
Amber: No, while you would adore sitting and reading in one of these organic, ancient castles, I would very much rather be sitting in a Starbucks drinking my coffee.
Estelle: Amber, I understand, I just thought--
Amber: I’m going back to the city, it was nice seeing you. I hope to see you next Easter as well.

Descriptive Writing - Ruins Step Image

I panted up the never ending, worn out steps, awaiting the end of this continuous spiral. The steps were lathered with dried out mud from the previous thousands of people who had stood on these very steps. Although this place was centuries old, the laid out bricks were perfectly intact: a tarnished treasure. The air was burdensome, pushing my shoulders downwards. My exhaustion as well as the weight of the air harmonised together to create a battlefield. I was overwhelmed by ochre yellow materials; everywhere my eyes darted were fatigued bricks. It didn’t smell putrid despite the fact that I was overwhelmed by the earthy, musky scent which the trees secreted. The trees, in spite of the fact that they were healthy, appeared to be as ancient as every other thing in my vicinity. They were crooked with their leaves shedding vigorously. This historical value turned out to be flat, soulless pieces of brick. Nothing special here.

Descriptive Writing - Donkey

It was a crisp morning. The fresh, loamy air and the rich, rocky surface of the mountains harmonised together to create a ballet routine. The sky was coated with a set of brisk, white clouds that left an overwhelmingly earthy scent which elevated the tranquility of the area. The mountains stood strong and determined. Similarly, on these mountains stood a donkey, committed to carrying the overloaded mess of stacked items heaped on its back. Crates, boxes, and containers were connected to this donkey like a never-ending puzzle. All was silent. Except for the echoey ringing of rocks tumbling down the sides of the mountains inflicted by the hooves of the suffocated donkey. Even with the surplus of enriching oxygen, the donkey seemed uneasy. This uneasiness looked like a disturbance to this serene space. Everything seemed in its place. Everything other than the man-made, brightly coloured containers overflowing from the donkey's saddle. Despite this uproar of discomfort, the donkey’s eyes were sharp and resolute. They were a dark abyss of clear intentions. Everything was perfect.

Class Collective Story Writing

Fury:

I stared at my husband, casually doing the dishes. The so-called washed dishes were covered by crumbs and spots from the Bolognese we ate for dinner. I managed to contain my infuriation by concentrating on the lovely sweater he had on. The one I gave him for his birthday.

This only infuriated me more since it was in fact my birthday today. I had not received a birthday gift, I was missing a lovely sweater. Not only was I left gift-less, my ever-so-loving husband was going to meet his ex today. I dart my eyes at him while he rushes out of the door, his leather jacket in his bony hands.

I decide I have had enough of this nonsense and follow him out of the house and into the dimly lighted street. He parks his car in front of a big villa and I do the same. I burst open the door of the white house, my complexion as red as my lipstick. I am furious.

SURPRISE! That's what I hear when I walk in. All of my friends are wearing colourful party hats and my husband is smiling from ear to ear. He hands me a bag and inside is the most beautiful sweater I have ever laid my eyes on.

I guess I was wrong and I actually have the best husband ever. I love my new sweater and I guess I don't need a new husband.

Dropping a Reader into the Story

Rebellion:

Drop in method - Pull the reader in with just one great first sentence

My parents have a unique method of problem solving, one I never would have suspected to be used on my own sister: murder.

My sister was the classic, rebellious teenager. Always decorated with large, silver rings and chains. So effortlessly flawless yet an exceedingly evil mess. She fantasised of being an actress, fame ridden, her ever-so-perfect face plastered on posters worldwide. She always said: "Creativity is rebellion".

She used to search for every possible thing that she wasn't allowed to do and do it anyways for the sole purpose of "gaining experience". She mumbled on and on about Stanislavsky and how these experiences that dice with death are beneficial for her method acting career. My parents despised this.

I've always admired my parents in spite of my familiarity with the fact that they are not good people. The thing I most admire is how much they value family and how they are willing to burn bridges to demolish any minor inconvenience that comes our way. I, however, have been proven wrong; my parents exclusively value their reputation and are willing to go to extreme lengths so they can maintain it.

An epileptic attack. My parents told me that it's what killed her. In that moment, my words were unwilling to take flight, the bitter sound of betrayal ringing in my ears. My only sister was now dead. Her life-long struggle with epilepsy got to her. How convenient.

I believed my parents. I mean, who wouldn't? We had all lost the same irreplaceable person and we were all going through the same seven stages of grief. We were all as thick as thieves and we were all visibly crushed. So why would I question it?

I did wonder a few times if this was another one of her ludicrous attempts at becoming a method actress. It sounded like one of her dense stunts. "Girl Fakes Her Death for a New Experience". That would make for great press. I eventually gave up on that speculation, 1 month after the death of my sister.

Quick Write

Michelle became aware of her special power when she flicked the switch to the broken basement light, out of habit, and the light went on. Everyone around her stared in dismay, wondering how she was able to fix something so evidently broken. Out of everybody, Michelle seemed to be the most in shock. Rightfully so, she had just realised she could finally see her parents again.

Creative Writing Based on a Childhood Memory

I burst open the door to the nursery, instantly overwhelmed by the subtle, warm aroma. It is four pm so she is standing right in the middle of her crib, her dumbfounded doe eyes staring at me. As regular as clockwork. I chuck my floral violet school bag across the room and dash towards my two-year-old sister. A smile grows of its own accord and I can't manage to contain my excitement to see my sister after a long day at school. The both of us are giggling uncontrollably. This is my favourite part of the day.

I reach into the crib and carefully lift my sister. Her skin is ever so soft and supple, her dimples so adorable, her gaze so pure. This moment of peace is interrupted when I toss her over my shoulders onto the king-sized bed behind me. Nevermind what I mentioned earlier; this in fact is my favourite part of the day. Usually, after throwing her, I would hear bubbling chuckles — bright and playful. Everyday, I would hear these captivating laughs and everyday I could just about drown in my grin.

However, this time I don't hear anything other than the constant ringing of my sister’s Fisher-Price baby mobile. The silence worries me. I spin so that I am facing the bed, pivoting on my heel. No baby. I crouch down to see if she, by any unfortunate chance, had landed on the floor. No baby. No baby!

I pace up and down the nursery knowing undoubtedly that I cannot mention this to my mother, who would obliterate me if I lost my baby sister. While in my pacing process, I stumble on a pink pacifier. Exasperated, I pick it up and hurl it onto the bed. It disappears. This is strange. My curious mind forces me to tip-toe towards the bed to inspect this phenomenon. I grab a pencil and I slowly poke it. I am moving as slow as the petals of a blossoming flower, afraid of what will happen.

My hesitation turns out to be justified because the pencil doesn’t bounce back after touching the surface of the bed. Instead, it dips into the bed, as if the bed is a body of water. The bed creates ripples that radiate outwards and I jump in the same direction. My brain stutters and I begin to wildly sob. I could just about drown in my tears.

First Thoughts 2022 Global Context

What is the nature and purpose of creative expression?

Creativity is important because it lets people express their thoughts, feelings, culture, and more in different manners. Creative freedom allows individuals to make their own decisions and do or create something of their own. It is somewhat rewarding to achieve something creatively because it is known that this was done on the person's own terms. I find it really interesting how creativity is a broad topic and everything can fit into it as long as original and imaginative ideas were used to complete it.

For example, music is a great form of creative expression because even if you are learning from sheet music, you have full creative freedom in the case of different techniques you can use to elevate the music. I personally use my intuition and make split second decisions about techniques such as dynamics and note length. Like this, original ideas are great.